Deaths of two East Moline women extremely rare, experts say

Published: Nov. 29, 2021 at 5:24 PM CST
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EAST MOLINE, Illinois (KWQC) -Last week two East Moline women were found dead from Carbon Monoxide poisoning in a running car early in the morning at Jacobs Northeast Park. The car was parked outside.

TV6 Investigates has since found two other incidents in which Carbon Monoxide poisoning occurred in recent weeks. One incident involved two teenagers in North Carolina and the other, a family of three in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Two experts from the Iowa and Illinois Poison Control Centers spoke with TV6 Investigates about how rare the possibility of this type of Carbon Monoxide exposure is.

“If you have a car that is stationary and the exhaust is underneath, if you’re stationary for a long period of time the Carbon Monoxide can rise up into the cabin and over time, as that level builds, it also builds in your body,” said Michael Wahl, the Medical Director of the Illinois Poison Control Center.

Tammy Noble, the Education and Marketing Manager with the Iowa Poison Control Center said that typically Carbon Monoxide exposure in a vehicle occurs when the car is inside of a garage or some other enclosed space.

“It would be less common to see something in a outdoor space but that could certainly happen,” said Noble, “I don’t know if there was maybe something faulty with the car, or somehow they were in an area where the Carbon Monoxide was somehow getting back into the car and building up inside the car.”

Both experts said that Carbon Monoxide exposures occur most often in the winter months--specifically December--when cars are turned on and heating up in the garage, or when home heating systems release gas and are not regularly checked.

They said the best form of prevention is to have a Carbon Monoxide detector. Detectors can be bought at most convenient stores, and can be portable as well.

However, as far as having a Carbon Monoxide detector in the car goes, both experts reiterated that it is extremely rare to be exposed to the toxic gas when in a car outside.

The incident that occurred in East Moline on November 23 is still being investigated by police. TV6 Investigates will continue to follow for more updates.

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